How to Tell if Your Teen is Lying About Drug Abuse

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that by 12th grade, two-thirds of students have tried alcohol and close to two in ten 12th graders report using prescription medication without a prescription. Teen drug abuse is a valid concern amongst many parents, and for good reason – at this developmental stage, teens are likely to experiment, to be swayed by peer pressure and to want to “fit in” – and for those teens who are struggling with symptoms of depression, anxiety or another mental illness, proper resources may seem too far from grasp whereas substances are so easily to obtain.

As a parent, you want to trust your child but at the same time, you want to protect them if they’re encountering situations that could place them in grave danger, such as with substance abuse. explains several ways to tell if your teen is trying to cover up their substance use:

  • Delayed timing between what they’re saying versus the emotion that’s being shown through their nonverbal cues and facial expressions
  • Reacting out of proportion
  • Less physical expression overall
  • Turning away from the person they’re lying to
  • Responding to direct questions about drug use with general phrases that fail to answer the question
  • Consistently adding in details to fill the silence and to persuade you to believe them
  • Using phrases such as, “To tell you the truth”,To be honest” or “Why would I lie to you?”

It’s an incredibly challenging job to detect when our teens are going through a situation they’re not telling us about, but the best we can do it to get to know their friends, stay up-to-date on what they’re doing, observe any changes in behavior and maintain as much open communication as possible. Through these actions, parents can hopefully prevent their teen from becoming addicted to substances – and if such situations arise, help can be sought immediately.

Adolescent Recovery of Cumberland Heights (ARCH) originally began in 1985 when there were few other adolescent programs like it in the country. In 2019, we’re expanding our continuum of services with ARCH Academy, a unique program located in Kingston Springs that offers 60 days to 6 months of residential care to adolescent boys ages 14-18 who are struggling with alcohol and/or drug addiction. This new program stems from Cumberland Heights, which has been around since 1966, and is located in Nashville, Tennessee. The adolescent age is a critical time for development, making this a crucial time of positive influence. For more information, call us today at 1-800-646-9998.